The UK will spend £25 million on a new prison in Jamaica so criminals currently in UK jails can be sent home to serve sentences in the Caribbean.

There are over 600 Jamaican nationals in UK jails who cannot currently be deported due to the poor condition of Jamaica’s prisons, which would allow a successful challenge under human rights laws.

The UK is contributing around 40 per cent to the construction expenses of the jail which would hold around 1,500, in a deal which would see more than 300 offenders sent back to the Caribbean.

Prime minister David Cameron said:

“It is absolutely right that foreign criminals who break our laws are properly punished but this shouldn’t be at the expense of the hard-working British taxpayer.

That’s why this agreement is so important. It will mean Jamaican criminals are sent back home to serve their sentences, saving the British taxpayer millions of pounds but still ensuring justice is done and it will help Jamaica by helping to provide a new prison, strengthening their criminal justice system.”

Mr Cameron announced the plans during his trip to Jamaica, during which he has faced calls for the UK to pay reparations to Jamaica for the country’s role in the slave trade.

An official from Number 10 told The Guardian that reparations were not the right approach in the eyes of the Prime Minister:

“This is a longstanding concern of theirs and there is a longstanding UK position, true of successive governments in the UK, that we don’t think reparations are the right approach.

[The prime minister] wants to look at the future and how can the UK play a part now in stronger growing economies in the Caribbean.”